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8 free apps to make your life and work easier

Like all the best tools, apps can help you to get more done. Angela Munroe shares a few of her favourites for getting down to business

One thing there’s never enough of in business is time. Smartphones help us to use time more effectively, and apps helps us to get things done when we’re on the go. According to BusinessMobiles, 31% of businesses with 20 or fewer employees use mobile apps to save them time and money.

These tiny tools have been designed to make our working lives easier and support business growth. But there are far too many to test drive first-hand, so here is a small selection of the ones I use most often. I hope they work for you too:

1. Cortana

Most people I talk to think Cortana knocks spots off Siri. I wouldn’t be without this personal assistant app. She’s great at finding the facts and figures that I need, she keeps an eye on traffic delays and alerts me if I need to leave early to get to a meeting and, when I need a bit of quiet time to think through ideas, I ask her to field calls and take messages.

2. Wunderlist

I seem to have my best ideas when I’m on the move. I might not have pen and paper on me but my smartphone is always by my side. Wunderlist allows me to capture ideas, prioritise them, create a to-do list, set reminders and tick things off as I work through it. With some to-do lists, I’ve found that I spend more time fiddling with the list than I do actioning the tasks. Wunderlist is powerful but simple to use and the information you need is right there when you need it. It’s no wonder The Verge ranked it as the best to-do list app.

3. Skype for Business

Physical meetings can be difficult to organise, costly and time-consuming. As the name suggests, Skype for Business has the same functionality as Skype, with the addition of the security and scale you need for work. It helps me to have productive meetings with groups of colleagues, face to face, wherever they are. Remote meetings with prospects and customers look professional too. Being able to stream media to all participants and share and comment on documents is an added bonus.

4. Lumia Beamer

Another great app for slick-looking customer presentations is Lumia Beamer, which allows you to show your phone’s screen live on any other screen that is connected to the internet. I use it in meetings to project visuals from my smartphone onto a larger screen so that everyone in the meeting room can see them, and I use my smartphone screen as a control to zoom in and out. Be warned though: I normally have to add 15 minutes to the meeting as everyone gets so excited about what the app can do that they want to have a play with it themselves.

Lumia Beamer also makes it easy to share my screen with people who are further away by sending them a link via email, SMS or social media.

5. Dynamics CRM

When it comes to having all the customer information you need to hand, I find Dynamics CRM the most useful of the deck of customer relationship management apps on offer. It allows me, and anyone else involved with sales, to access and update customer information on the move. Project updates are available at a click, so we always have access to the info we need when a client calls and we’re away from our desks.

6. CamScanner

CamScanner is like having a scanner in my pocket. It captures notes from whiteboards, blackboards and presentations, digitises them instantly, enhances them so they’re easy to read and allows me to share them as PDFs. Office Lens is another great app that does a similar job. Perhaps try both and see which works best for you.

7. Flipboard

A useful research tool that keeps me up to date with the latest news and business thinking. I tell it what I’m interested in and Flipbook selects the articles for me, so I can monitor relevant topics and competitor activity. I create sub-folders and group articles together so they’re all in one place when I need to reference them.

8. HERE Drive+ and HERE Maps

HERE Drive+ has replaced the need for any other SatNav kit when I’m in the car, and I rely on HERE Maps to find me the speediest route wherever I am in the world. It’s great for global travellers because it works where other maps fail. I can also download maps in advance so they work without a network connection.

With hundreds of new apps being launched every day, I’m bound to have missed a few good ones. I’d love to hear which apps help you use to get more done and grow your business. Please tweet me at @AngelaDMunroe

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  1. Great article! I`m with Lumia and I can say it`s very good smartphone for business. Cortana is amazingly fast, the GPS apps are very accurate. And after reading this article I instal Lumia Beamer and Dynamics CRM and I can say that these app are great for the business purpose.